Overall Impression: An original story but with annoyingly stereotyped characters.
“In the beginning, we were nine. We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now…….three are gone. We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We’re just trying to survive. Six are left. But we are hunted, and the hunters won’t stop, until they’ve killed us all. They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. I am Number Four. I know that I am next…”
This book, in simple terms, is about aliens that have come to Earth because their planet Lorien was attacked by some other, far more scary aliens, that seem to think they’re Shaft. It’s said, when their old enough they will return to the planet Lorien, and restore it to its original state. This book follows alien Number Four, who takes the name of John Smith and tries to live the life of a normal teenager while developing his mysterious alien powers. He’s forced to keep a low profile so that the evil Mogadorian aliens won’t find him. And of course, along the way, he meets a blonde reformed cheerleader, in need of a bit of saving, and falls in love. Just your typical cliche then…..
This book starts off at a very slow pace, and takes what seems like a third of the book, to set the scene and introduce the characters and their backgrounds. However, when you get around halfway through the book the pace suddenly picks up and finishes with a bang.
There were several things that annoyed me about this book. The first being, it’s pretty much made up of cliche’s. You’ve got the hero, the reformed cheerleader, the geeky best friend and the bully jocks, and I think there was an opportunity here to give the characters more depth. Secondly their aliens powers, or Legacies, as their known in the book, aren’t very specific and seem very undeveloped, almost as if the author himself didn’t know what he was talking about. Finally the cheerleader Sarah Heart, is sickly sweet and is portrayed as intelligent, beautiful, and altogether too perfect to be true. This personally annoyed me as I think all the best characters in literature have flaws.
However, this is not to say I hated the book. I thought that it was quite original, as I’m getting fairly fed up now of books jumping onto the vampire, werewolf and angel bandwagon of forbidden love in an attempt to copy the popularity of Twilight. I also think it’s good because it appeals to males and females. Finally Pittacus Lore is excellent at writing action scenes in a intense and gripping way that will get you turning the pages furiously until you find out the outcome.
I would recommend this book to teens, probably at the younger side of the spectrum 11-16 either male or female, who likes an easy read, and is a fan of fantasy, syfy and the supernatural.
Writing style: 3/5
Character Development: 2/3
Would I recommend this book? Yes